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Portrait of Frederick Douglass

18 March 2024 at 03:40 | 1030 views


By Dr. Imo Nse Imeh, Artist and Professor of Art, USA

I am so excited to share with you my portrait of the 19th Century hero Frederick Douglass. The portrait was commissioned by Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts as part of a mighty initiative called the Portraits Project, an effort to bring to light the stories of Black American luminaries of the 19th Century and their connections to the town of Worcester. This portrait, along with two other stunning portraits of Sojourner Truth, painted by Manu Saluja Fine Art and William and Martha Brown, painted by Brenda Zlamany is now installed in the historic Mechanics Hall Portrait Gallery. These three new works are the first portraits to be commissioned by Mechanics Hall in over a century, and they are the first representations of Black leaders in the institution.

There are no words to truly encapsulate exactly how I’m feeling at this moment—but I can tell you with certainty that I am fully aware that this moment is greater than myself, Manu, and Brenda— it’s greater than Mechanics Hall too. It feels spiritual well beyond measure. I can also tell you that no photography of the three portraits will truly demonstrate how intricate or expressive they are. You will need to visit Mechanics Hall to see them for yourselves.

The unveiling of the portraits was last night, and it was magical. It was MAGIC! There is more information and photography to come. For now, please enjoy this curated selection of images and videos around the creation of the Frederick Douglass portrait.

Please also read the description of the work in the third slide. It offers context for the composition of my painting.

This has been one of the most challenging works I’ve been tasked to create in my life as an artist. I feel so much wiser and matured as an artist and thinker for having had this opportunity.

Thank you Gloria D. Hall for your vision, and Mechanics Hall for taking me on this remarkable journey.